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Laws of the Game

Governance of Soccer

FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) is the highest governing body of soccer in the world, and establishes rules for the game. The US Soccer Federation, USSF, governs soccer in this country. Within the USSF, each state has a soccer association, and most states also have youth soccer associations. Washington Youth Soccer governs much of youth club soccer for our state. WA Youth Soccer runs some competition directly through districts throughout the state, and also recognizes and supports regional associations like EYSA.

The individual clubs within EYSA provide referees for their EYSA- and club-sponsored home games. Two organizations provide referees to EYSA clubs:

  • U08-U12 Recreational games are officiated by referees assigned through EYSA at www.eysareferees.org.
  • Select, Premier and U13+ Recreational games are officiated by East King County Soccer Referees Association (EKCSRA) at www.EKCSRA.org

Laws of the Game

There are 17 Laws of the Game to ensure order and fairness of play formulated by FIFA. The laws are based on those first introduced in 1863 by England's Football Association, and continue to govern all games, with modifications to accommodate players of different age groups, developmental levels, and players with disabilities. Modifications can be made concerning:

  • size of the field of play
  • size, weight and material of the ball
  • width between the goalposts and height of the crossbar from the ground
  • duration of the periods of play
  • substitutions

US Youth Soccer, WA Youth Soccer and EYSA may modify the FIFA international rules for their leagues and tournaments. These rule changes provide specific instruction where FIFA rules are general, and/or are intended to keep youth soccer safe, fun and fair.

Rules for some of the leagues in which our EYSA teams play, can be accessed from the following pages:

Most Misunderstood Rules of Soccer

"Hand Ball"

This is not the call: instead, it is "Deliberately Handling the Ball." If a player deliberately handles the ball or deliberately makes himself bigger by moving his arms/hands away from a natural position, then the foul should be called. If the ball accidentally hits him in the hand or he reflexively moves his hands to protect himself, then the foul should not be called. This is a subjective call for the referee.


This is not the call either: it's actually "Offside." Offside is easy to see once you understand it.

  • Here is a video that does an excellent job of explaining it; and
  • Here is a document created by the US Soccer Federation (USSF) which explains it well (although it takes many pages to do so).